I was innocently perusing my Twitter timeline yesterday and stumbled upon this trending topic; #BeingFemaleInNigeria. I immediately stalked the # conversation as I was intrigued to see what issues Nigerian women chose to raise awareness of & was hit by a trend; females tweeted seriously about gender inequality in the justice system, professional and domestic spheres, while the males mockingly tweeted about the financial implications of dating a Nigerian woman, marrying one, or cheating with one. Yes, being a Nigerian female sounded like a burden from females' accounts of injustice with child-rearing, social expectations & treatment from their female peers/ male counterparts. Finally, I wasn't alone in my pubescent whining! I remember endless heated debates with Nigerian males who can't understand why I believed our culture wrongly denoted praise to men. In their eyes, women were rightly praised at any given event for holding down the fort. I begged to differ.
Turban & Dress : Designed and sewn by me (DIY)
Domestic: From birth, females are socialised different. Females are taught the domestic basics, to be smart academically but more importantly, with their heart. I remember a cousin who'd successfully completed a Masters degree overseas & had also been proposed to weeks before graduation, being commended on "leaving the UK with the REAL certificate" (marriage certificate). Men could argue that they are not immune from the same pressure to lock down a wife, but be real, that only comes on or after your 30's. Imagine being subliminally coached on your marriage suitability your whole life; cooking, cleaning, aesthetic appeal...it's exhausting! Don't get me started on what ensues after you jump the broom; pressure to give birth. The countdown begins once he's proposed even. The trend is to be with child ON your wedding day! That obviously poses threats to early marital bliss, but in Nigeria, a woman is blamed if a man cheats so yet again it's a lose-lose.
Abuja Arts & Crafts Village, Nigeria
Academic/ Professional: just forget it! If you're smart? Dumb it down! This is a universal concept. Women's book smart is frowned upon. Go to Stanford, Yale or Oxford for all they care...if you're not married by 30, it has all been in vain. Heaven forbid you aspire to become a Doctor without first bearing a ring beforehand! Your mother will cry to Amadioha questioning where she erred as a parent, or what sin she's being punished for. The crux of the matter is, the man is the public mouthpiece, brain, balls, backbone...everything...of the home. PUBLICLY! The truth is, women are the root and source. Many women break their backs to see their children through school, yet it's the man's back who's tapped to commend their good work upon graduation.
Watch : Guess | Peeptoe Lace-Up Wedge Boots : Primark | Bag : ZARA
Sexuality: Yes, I will discuss it. You're expected to wear makeup, don only the best hair (even remember in primary school it was all about what braid trends you rocked on a weekly basis?), wear designer clothes and accessories, and werq the baddest body in the game. You should attract male attention, and pander to the whims of the men you date (yes, plural), yet still keep your v-card intact & never cry rape. Even when you're sexually harassed because a man inevitably found you attractive, as was intended, you're supposed to take it all in your stride. BS! GTFOH! I vividly remember defending females TO females who brandished all rape victims as the cause for being sexually alluring to begin with. "It was her fault. She should know better than to hang around X". Funny how their tones changed once I humanised the situation by using their sister as an example.
"Perhaps it is time to debate culture. The common story is that in 'real' African culture, before it was tainted by the West, gender roles were rigid and women were contentedly oppressed." Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie